As we all know, June is Pride Month, and what better way to celebrate the rainbow flag than listening to some music made by those in the LGBTQ community?
Sure, you should really be listening to these artists all the time because they’re incredible and talented in their own right, but Pride Month is a great way to put a spotlight on these artists.
Here is a list of 10 LGBTQ musicians and artists who you should be listening to.
Annie Clark, otherwise known by her stage name St. Vincent, has been tearing up the alternative rock scene for years, but her 2017 release “Masseduction” saw her at the top of her game, including a win for best rock song and a performance with pop star Dua Lipa at last year’s Grammy Awards. St. Vincent is a queer woman pushing down boundaries and barriers in a straight man’s world, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see her do so.
Essential tracks: "Los Ageless," "New York," "Fast Slow Disco"
Sivan, who hails from South Africa, is on his way to becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world. His latest record, 2018's "Bloom," is full of electropop hits that are perfect for the dance floor, and one song even featured another pop superstar, Ariana Grande. Sivan has been out his entire career, which just goes to show how far we've come from pop stars like George Michael or Freddy Mercury, who had to hide in the closet at the start of their careers.
Essential tracks: "Bloom," "My, My, My," "The Good Side"
It’s insane that Petras’ music hasn’t caught up to the mainstream yet, but for the time being, fans of this transgender pop star from Germany are just happy that she’s turning out hit after hit. Petras released “I Don’t Want It All” in 2017, followed by many more singles and EPs that show off her electro bubblegum-pop aesthetic. She released “Malibu” at the beginning of summer, and it’s the perfect song to listen to while sipping on a cocktail or two.
Essential tracks: "I Don't Want It All," "Heart to Break," "Do Me"
Sleater-Kinney is a band that came shooting out of the queer and feminist riot grrl movement in the early ’90s in the Pacific Northwest and has gone on to become one of the best punk rock bands of all time. The band took a pretty long hiatus, but came back in 2015 stronger than ever with the critically acclaimed album “Not Cities To Love.” They released another new album in 2020 called “The Center Won’t Hold.”
Essential tracks: "Dig Me Out," "Jumpers," "New Wave"
This Australian singer/songwriter came on the scene with her 2015 debut album "Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit" to critical acclaim and went around the world performing her grungy rock music. Barnett's music is full of twisty guitar riffs that verge on being punk, but her witty and playful lyrics are what really make her a standout. A lot of LGBTQ artists tend to make pop music, so it's nice to see some representation in other genres of music, like alternative rock. Barnett's partner, Jen Cloher, is also a fantastic musician and worth checking out.
Essential tracks: "Pedestrian At Best," "Avant Gardner," "Nameless Faceless"
If you watched last year’s Grammy Awards, then you saw Carlile absolutely crush her performance of her Grammy-winning song, “The Joke.” Carlile has been making incredible music that finds a middle area somewhere between country and folk, but it was truly inspiring to finally see her talents shine on the Grammy stage. Carlile is very vocal about being an out and proud lesbian and writes many songs about her wife and daughter.
Essential tracks: "The Story," "The Joke," "Heart's Content"
Years & Years
Electropop has become a subgenre in the pop music world, and no other band represents it quite as well as Years & Years does. Lead singer Olly Alexander has been incredibly outspoken in his home country of England, fighting and advocating for LGBTQ rights. Alexander has even shown his pride during major performances, like when he wore a rainbow outfit while performing at the Glastonbury music festival. The band's latest album, "Palo Santo," was met with commercial and critical success.
Essential tracks: "If You're Over Me," "King," "All For You"
If any artist is going to keep the legacy of Prince alive, it is Monae.
Monae has been putting out Prince-inspired music for a few years now, but 2018′s “Dirty Computer” truly cemented her as a future legend in the music industry. The Grammy-nominated album is full of glossy synths, bass lines that truly slap and enough groovy guitar riffs to make your head spin. Monae also came out as pansexual in 2018, making herself a visible member of the LGBTQ community that younger people can look up to. We don’t see her star fading anytime soon.
Essential tracks: "Make Me Feel," "Screwed," "Tightrope"
If you’ve watched “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” then you know who this next queen is. Despite a disappointing sixth-place finish on season seven, Mattel took the screen time she had and turned it into lemonade. Mattel competed on the show’s third season of “All Stars” and won the competition, taking home $100,000 and releasing two country albums, “Two Birds” and “One Stone.” There are many drag queens who make their own music, but Mattel is serving up music that none of her peers come even close to replicating. She’s like a real-life doll version of Dolly Parton.
Essential tracks: "Moving Parts," "Little Sister," "Break Your Heart"
Let's make one thing clear: Bounce music wouldn't be what it is today without Big Freedia. The New Orleans icon has been making music since the '90s, and her impact can be seen on many new artists making music today. Big Freedia really hit it big when she was featured on Beyoncé's song "Formation." You can hear Big Freedia saying, "I came to slay" during the song. Big Freedia continues to release new music and play as many Pride festivals as possible. You'll want to keep your eyes open for this bounce queen, especially her song with Lizzo called "Karaoke."
Essential tracks: "Karaoke," "Rent," "Booty-Whop"
Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ artists that you like listening to? Let us know in the comments below.